PPP Act restricts scope to basic projects
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PPP Act restricts scope to basic projects

New law to hasten investment process

The PPP Promotion Act, which already passed through the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), stipulates only basic infrastructure projects and public services can be invested in jointly by the public and private sectors, says the head of the State Enterprise Policy Office (Sepo).

The new law, which will replace the Private Investment in State Undertakings Act, will expedite the joint investment process between the public and private sectors, empowered by the cabinet to tackle obstacles and any delays, said Sepo director-general Prapas Kong-Ied.

The draft is awaiting royal approval before being published in the Royal Gazette.

The law hinges on using the private sector's expertise and innovation in joint investment projects and transferring knowledge to state agencies, as well as setting clear-cut policy for joint investment infrastructure and public service projects to comply with the legal process.

The law will require chairmen of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Thai Industries and the Thai Bankers' Association to be additional members of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) committee to add a private sector angle in joint investment projects. Moreover, experts related to joint venture projects will be a part of the selection committee.

The law sets regulations and processes that are concise, transparent and require better inspection, as well as market sounding from companies during the process, Mr Prapas said.

If there are problems or obstructions delaying joint investment projects, state agencies can go to the PPP committee and the cabinet will set a time frame to address such problems.

The law requires joint investment measures to be launched in an appropriate manner under the fiscal policy discipline framework, and empowers state agencies tasked with ushering along projects to exercise power for public benefit, delegate others to run joint investment projects on a temporary basis, and amend or even cancel contracts.

State agencies must compensate private contractors if they are not the cause of the problem.

The prospective PPP developments cover 12 categories of the national infrastructure plan -- roads (highways and motorways), railways, airports, seaports, water management, irrigation, energy, telecommunications, science/technology, hospitals, schools and housing for low-income earners.

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